Restoring Order

  • Tuesday, January 11, 2011
  • In science, the first law of thermodynamics expresses that energy can be transformed but it cannot be created or destroyed. Then, there’s the second law of thermodynamics that states that over time, differences in temperature, pressure, and chemical potential equilibrate if they’re in an isolated system. The chaos theory is a study in applied mathematics, physics, economics, biology, and philosophy that considers the behavior of dynamical systems that are highly sensitive to initial conditions. The future behavior of systems is determined by their initial conditions.

    All of these scientific theories and laws are man’s observation of what happens to something if it is isolated and left alone. Its energy is transformed, things equilibrate (settle into a common state of being) and just the slightest event can create chaos over a period of time. Think about a butterfly beating its wings in Brazil and that disturbance eventually contributing to a hurricane off the coast of North Carolina.

    But, we don’t really need science or economics or philosophy to learn these lessons. All we need to do is consider things on the Island of Crete after Paul first visited. He invested a great deal of energy to help plant churches across the island. That energy helped transform the lives of the new Christians in the new churches Paul founded. However, over time, these churches and the Christians who were part of the churches had a tendency to equilibrate. What once made them different eventually became indiscernible. Today, we might say that they melted into the surroundings and eventually it was difficult to tell the Christians from the rest of the Cretans. Over the thirty years after Paul first planted the churches, they became chaotic.

    "For this reason I left you in Crete, that you might set in order what remains and appoint elders in every city as I directed you." Titus 1:5

    So, just how did Titus go about “setting things in order?” His response was strong leadership. If the law of nature is that order moves naturally to disorder, as illustrated above, the orderly churches of Crete established by Paul eventually became disorderly, chaotic, equilibrated, luke warm.

    This was not a new concept for God’s people. In Genesis 3 we learn of the original sin which brought disorder to the garden. In Exodus 18 we’re told of the disputes among God’s chosen people and the problems this caused for Moses. Throughout the Old Testament and into the New Testament we read of the chaos that eventually consumes even God’s chosen people and His church. Acts 14, for example, outlines problems in the early church and the appointment of Elders to guide the new churches.

    Paul’s response to the lack of order in Crete was to send Titus and instruct him to select Elders in each church, and challenge them with the responsibility to return the church to its original state. To bring order and heat them up again.

    "If any man be above reproach, the husband of one wife, having children who believe, not accused of dissipation or rebellion . . . hospitable, loving what is good, sensible, just, devout, self-controlled, holding fast the faithful word . . . able to exhort in sound doctrine and to refute those who contradict . . ." Titus 1:6-9

    Restoring order happens through God’s leaders in His church. Restoring order also happens through God’s leaders in your life. As you read through the daily Scripture readings this week, pray that you will be open to His leading and guidance in your life. Then consider how you can make a difference in the life of someone you know by exhibiting leadership.


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